The Golden Rule is a term from the Bible verse “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NIV) Many other religions have similar sayings, like “treat others how you would want to be treated,” and many businesses operate via a modified version of this principle: “I will not ask an employee to do something that I myself wouldn’t do.” Or “treat the janitor the same way (or with the same respect) you would treat the CEO.” Einstein abided by this principle, as does actor Tom Hardy, and so does famous musician Janelle Monae. Businesses should obey this rule in that they should market products that aren’t junk, products that they would want to use themselves. Manufacturers should ask themselves: would I be comfortable letting my own family members use this product? If they would not be comfortable, then the golden rule is not being followed. I could think of several products that are good and some that aren’t good.
One product I’d like to discuss is laundry detergent. I have washed a lot of laundry in my lifetime and it goes without saying that I’ve purchased quite a bit of laundry detergent. One specific brand of laundry detergent, Tide, is well manufactured. It serves its purpose for washing laundry and usually a little of it goes a long way. On the other hand, there is a generic brand of detergent at Dollar Tree that is more or less just plain water. It’s almost as if the manufacturers dumped all of the detergent out of the bottles and filled them up with water. The Golden Rule is definitely evident in this example. One manufacturer is practicing the Golden Rule, and one isn’t. I can concede that some would counter this argument by saying this is of our own selfish creation, because in the U.S. we desire cheap products, and so, at least to a point, we have outsourced a lot of our labor in this area and the result is cheaply made, cheaply bought products, so we just have to live with our choices. This is a fair argument, and I would respond by stating that if a product does not meet our golden rule standards, we can do our business elsewhere, and let our free-market economy decide which products will win out in the end. So it then becomes a bit of a moral dilemma: are businesses who don’t follow the Golden Rule the more guilty party for making substandard products and planned obsolescence, or are we as the consumer more at fault for demanding cheaper products, more often, thus shifting the supply towards cheaper but more plentiful things?
The most important thing I learned from the readings this week is that businesses who are geared toward customer satisfaction end up increasing their shareholder value. Businesses who put their customers first can eventually end up maximizing their shareholder value. This concept goes along with the idea that Kelsey had stated in her original discussion post, and I can totally agree with now. This will impact my actions in the future in that I will be more watchful of businesses who are more customer centered. One example of a business that I know without a doubt is customer centered, is Chick-fil-A. I have never in my life had a negative experience at Chick-fil-A. The employees are always so friendly and good-spirited.
One thing I encountered that I disagree with was Brittany’s discussion post that Amazon is focused on maximizing their shareholder value. Like with Chick-fil-A, I’ve never had a negative experience with Amazon. I’ve had to contact Amazon’s customer service several times for issues that have gone wrong, and every time my issue is resolved without question. In addition to their excellent customer service, their two-day shipping services surely satisfy customers due to convenience. So I believe that Amazon is focused on maximizing customer satisfaction rather than shareholder value. However, I have heard reports and stories of the way Amazon treats their sellers and their employees. Many have said that conditions in many of their warehouses are dangerous, and they are forced to work insane hours. There have been several times in which I attempted to sell an item on Amazon, and I have never once been successful in that venture. Because although they are costumer-centered and always side with the buyer, and that’s a good thing, it’s not a good thing that they tend to vilify sellers, and in turn that could create a lot of undesirable practices; customers who have bad intentions could easily game this system, and complain very often, basically getting their purchases for free or even inconveniencing sellers for no good reason; I know all of these from personal experience.
The most difficult thing I encountered in this module was getting my Marketing Plan group to respond to me. The logistics of any group project or plan can always be difficult, and this is no different in a class than it would be in an actual business. The Golden Rule can also be applied here: if you were the boss of a company, how would you feel and respond if an employee was very late in getting a project completed, or never arrived on time, or never checked their email to see important completion targets? It’s not easy to work together with others, due to logistics, time restraints, and other barriers to communication and work. Yet that is the challenge we face and we have to find unique ways to deal with things. To be completely honest, some parts of the text are fairly dry and boring, and it can be hard to make something out of that sometimes, but that is the challenge we face as students. Further, most of my background and academic thinking is based in healthcare and pharmacy, and so transitioning from that line of thought to the business world has been difficult. I’m used to thinking about patients and drug interactions, not about effective marketing strategies. On the other hand, it is undeniable that healthcare, pharmacy, and business are linked, and knowing how to run effective systems and market drugs, or other products, would be an invaluable asset to any health care professional. After all, what good is owning your own business or being the manager, when you cannot run the business or keep employees motivated?
One thing I wished I had known before is that my value/ lifestyle primary type is experiencer and my secondary type is an achiever. I thought that my primary type would be an achiever, so those results surprised me. I am usually a predictable person, and like things in my life to remain relatively stable, and I also am conservative politically and my life is fairly conventional. To learn that I am usually more connected to social media, and usually live moment to moment, constantly changing the things I am interested in. This has made it fairly difficult for me to decide on career choices in life. I certainly don’t do outside activities for fun very often these days, as I’m usually glued to a computer screen doing work. Then again, I never saw myself putting pharmacy school on pause and pursuing an education in business, so in a way I believe it (Marshall & Johnston, 2019, p. 175).
Certainly I never really considered myself an experiencer. Learning that I can often be an impulsive consumer has taught me a lot about my spending habits. It’s also good to know this because I can use this information to my advantage; by knowing my own habits, I can try to pick them out in others and hopefully learn to market appropriately to them based on how they behave. Using the Golden Rule here would increase effectiveness; how would a believer differ from an achiever? If my market was mostly innovators, I would need to make sure that my products were “top of the line,” shiny and new. Apple is a pretty good example of this; a lot of their newer product lines are similar, but they don’t try to reinvent the wheel with each new design, and people will usually buy it purely because of the brand recognition. This is a good example of effective marketing towards them.
In conclusion, one of the more important principles I’ve learned from this module is a simple one, but often only the first half is used in the modern era: The customer is always right, about what the customer wants.